Period. Bottom line. End of story.
I see discussions on Twitter, I read articles that say things like, "Well, if Buffalo does this with him" or "Fitz has this, but he doesn't have that." STOP! He isn't good, and he will never be more than what we see right now. What is he? He is an NFL starting quarterback with no arm strength, terrible accuracy, and terrible footwork. You don't win in the NFL with someone like this. I see people at tailgates with better arm strength and accuracy.
Buffalo's offense is basically neutered because of his deficiencies. Every pass is underneath, a slant, or a screen. The Bills traded up for TJ Graham because of his size and speed and can't even feature him because the quarterback can't get him the ball! Remember when Buffalo was pinned at their 5 yard line vs. New England? Fitz went deep up the right sideline to a WIDE OPEN Graham and just under threw him terribly. If he hits him, it was a 95 yard touchdown.
Look, I know it's early – REALLY EARLY – to start talking about the NFL Draft. With a win on Sunday, the Bills would sit at 4-3 and be right in the middle of the playoff hunt. But man, oh man, does this team need a quarterback. The following three are the three college quarterbacks that I would like to see on the Buffalo Bills.
Before we get there, here are three quick points on the Bills:
1. I've done a complete 180 on Stevie Johnson. He is so good. Always open and I'll say that he has the best footwork of any WR in the league. Can you imagine his numbers with a real QB or another real option at WR?
2. The three best players on the Bills' offense this season: CJ Spiller, Stevie Johnson and Cordy Glenn. The big man from Georgia has been a steal. This guy has been dominant so far. I was very upset when he went down, but Hairston has done a great job filling in. But man, Cordy Glenn was having himself a year. I hope his level of play maintains when he comes back.
3. I'm not as worried about the defense as some people are. The talent is there, it's just finding a coordinator who has the mind and the innovation to make it work. Upgrading the linebackers will be another big offseason need along with a whole new defensive coaching staff. Best players on defense so far: Jairus Byrd, Chris Kelsay (which pains me to say), and Kyle Williams. Biggest Disappointment: Aaron Williams. He has been all sorts of awful.
Alright, now to the college QBs:
EJ Manuel – Florida State: EJ passes the eye test for a quarterback prospect. 6'5", 240lbs, has great arm strength and mobility. He came to Florida State highly promoted as the next great QB. EJ took over as starter in 2011 and led Florida State to a bowl win over Notre Dame while passing for 2666 yards, 18 TD's, and 8 INT's. This year, Florida State came out hot and started the season 5-0 before a last second loss to NC State. So far through 6 games this season, EJ Manuel has 1,804 yards passing, 14 TDs, and 4 INTs. He is way ahead of last season's pace in the numbers department. His best game so far in 2012 was against Clemson (27-35, 380 yards, and 2 TDs while rushing for another 102 yards). I've seen early mocks with him going as high as the 1st round to as low as the 3rd. EJ will be on Buffalo's radar for sure. If I were placing the early odds, I'd put my money here.
Tyler Bray – Tennessee: Brash. Confident. Cocky. Those are the three adjectives that come to mind when watching Tyler. He isn't afraid to sling into tight spots, talk it up on the field, or take a chance, and he has a rocket attached to his right shoulder. Reminds me of Jay Cutler. Would you take Cutler right now over Fitzpatrick? Exactly. Tennessee started out 2-0 , but got worked, 37-20, in a home game vs. the Gators. Tyler ended up throwing for 2 TD's and 2 INT's that game to go along with 257 yards. Tennessee has already lost their two biggest games on the season (Florida mentioned above and a shootout vs. Georgia that featured UT making a strong comeback but falling short). If Tyler comes out this season, he is a top 15 pick. If he comes out for the 2014 draft, he is Top 3. Oh, and here is an early mock for this season: http://walterfootball.com/draft2013charlie.php
Geno Smith – West Virginia: There is nobody hotter right now in College Football than the "Geno-cide". The nation took notice of Geno Smith in the Orange Bowl Game in January. Let's take a gander at what he did to Clemson in Miami: 32-43, 407 yards, 74.4%, 6 TD's, ZERO INTERCEPTIONS. Final Score: West Virginia 70, Clemson 33.
Geno Smith went to Miami and went Dexter on Clemson. Through six games in 2012, Geno has already compiled 2271 yards passing, 25 Touchdowns, and ZERO INTERCEPTIONS. Last time Geno threw a pick? December 1st, 2011 against South Florida. Dana Holgorsen and his Red Bull-fueled offense may inflate the numbers, but make no mistake, Geno can ball. He has an NFL ready arm, tremendous accuracy, and he can run when needed.
One thing Geno will need to get used to, is taking a snap from under center. The majority, if not all of his snaps, are out of the shotgun. So his footwork, set-up, and release point will be something scouts will look at when he has his pro day. In one of my first posts on Buffalo Wins, I said the Bills needed to trade up from the 10th to the 2nd to grab RG3 because a franchise QB in today's NFL is everything. Well, the Redskins listened to my advice and made the draft day jump. At the time, the "experts" ripped the trade, saying Washington gave up too much. Now who is laughing?
Bottom line: Buffalo needs to do everything in its power to land a young franchise quarterback in the draft. If that means moving up from, let's say the 14th pick to the 3rd pick, then DO IT. If they're serious about winning, then that has to be the move.